- Then the young king spoke, a novice in battle:
- 'This light is not the light of dawn; no fiery dragon flies
- The gables of this hall are not lit up with licking flames;
- But men draw near with shining weapons. The birds of battle
- The grey wolf howls, the spear rattles,
- Shield answers shaft. The pale moon wanders
- On her way below the clouds, gleaming; evil deeds will now be
- Provoking pitched battle.
- Wake up now, my warriors!
- Grasp your shields, steel yourselves,
- Step forward and be brave!'
- So many a thane, ornamented in gold, buckled his sword-belt.
- Then the stout warriors, Sigeferth and Eaha
- Strode to one door and unsheathed their swords;
- Ordlaf and Guthlaf went to guard the other,
- And Hengest himself followed in their footsteps.
- When he saw this, Guthere said to Garulf
- That he would be unwise to go to the hall doors
- In the first fury of the onslaught, risking his precious
- For Sigeferth the strong was set upon his death.
- But Garult, a hero of great heart,
- Shouted out, 'Who holds the door?'
- 'I am Sigeferth, a warrior of the Secgan
- And a well-known campaigner; I've lived through many
- Many stern trials. Here, in strife with me,
- You'll discover your fate, victory or defeat.'
- Then the din of battle broke out in the hall;
- The hollow shield, defender of the body, was doomed to
- In the hero's hand; the hall floor boomed.
- Then Garulf, the son of Guthlaf, gave his life
- In the fight, first of all the warriors
- Living in that land, and many heroes lay prostrate beside
- A crowd of pale faces fell to the earth. The raven wheeled,
- Dusky, dark brown. The gleaming swords so shone
- It seemed as if all Finnesburh were in flames.
- I have never heard, before or since, of sixty triumphant
- Who bore themselves more bravely in the thick of battle.
- And never did retainers repay their prince more handsomely
- For his gift of glowing mead than did those men repay Hnef.
- They fought five days and not one of the followers
- Fell, but they held the doors firmly.
- Then Guthere retired, worn out and wounded;
- He said that his armour was almost useless,
- His corselet broken, his helmet burst open.
- The guardian of those people asked him at once
- How well the warriors had survived their wounds
- Or which of the young men. ...
- The Finnesburh ftag'nent recounts a portion of the tale of Finn and
Hildeburh sung by the minstrel
- in the Old English epic Beowulf